Library Accounts and Circulation of Library Material

Last updated: June, 2023
  1. Library Card Eligibility

    We welcome anyone who would like access to our collections or services to apply for a library card account in person at the library, an outreach location, or online. Your first library card is issued free of charge. Identification and proof of current address must be presented to obtain a physical card. You may use your library account on the day it is created. It may take several business days for a new registration to be completed. Once your registration is complete, privileges related to borrowing, placing holds, and use of some electronic resources will vary based on the category of the card.

    1. Individual Cards
      1. Resident: Saratoga Springs City School District Resident or Property Owner; Saratoga Springs Public Library staff and volunteers, or Member of the Friends of Saratoga Springs Public Library Ex-Libris Society.
      2. Regular: Residents of the eight counties served by the Southern Adirondack and Mohawk Valley Library Systems, who are not included above.
      3. Out-of-System: Applicants who live outside of the service areas of the Southern Adirondack and Mohawk Valley Library Systems.
      4. Internet Only: Applicants who want to use our public computers and are unable to show proof of residency at the time of application.
      5. Any minor without a school ID must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to obtain an Individual Card (see Three for Me Cards).
    2. Business and Organization Cards
      1. Business and Organization cards are issued free of charge to institutions within the Saratoga Springs City School District that provide a letter from an authorized official, on official organizational letterhead, indicating that the organization will be responsible for replacement costs for lost or damaged library materials, and for all fines and fees resulting from use of the card.
      2. Business and Organization Cards are kept on file at the library, and are not physically issued to account holders. Authorized users must provide the account number to use the card.
    3. Three For Me Cards
      1. Three for Me cards are issued to minors who are unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian, and who are unable to provide an ID. These cards do not require the signature of a parent or guardian; however, an application must be completed by the minor or an accompanying caregiver.
      2. Three for Me cards can only be used to check out books. Up to three books may be out on a Three for Me card at any one time.
      3. Three for Me cards may be converted to Individual Cards with complete borrowing privileges if all criteria for an Individual Card application are met.
  2. Borrowing Privileges and Requirements

    To help us serve you better, please:

    • Sign your library card
    • Bring your card each time you visit the library
    • Report a lost or stolen card at once
    • Inform us of changes to the following:
      • Name
      • Address
      • Phone Number
      • Email Address (if provided)
    1. Saratoga Springs Public Library issues library cards which allow cardholders to borrow material from participating SALS/MVLS member libraries in the New York counties of Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington, subject to individual library policies. Only one SALS/MVLS card is permitted per individual.
    2. To prevent loss of library material and to protect cardholders from fraudulent use of library cards, the library requires customers to present a library card or a valid form of government-issued photo ID for each transaction.
    3. Cardholders are responsible for all material checked out on their cards, and if such material is returned late, damaged, or lost, are responsible for paying fines or replacement fees.
    4. Cardholders are responsible for ensuring that their library records, and those of any minor children, include current contact information. Borrowing privileges must be renewed every three years to ensure that contact information is updated.
    5. When presented with a valid library card for a transaction, library staff will generally not ask for additional identification.
    6. If a card has an account balance of $50 or more, or if there are 5 or more overdue items on the card, the cardholder will not be allowed to borrow or renew physical materials.
  3. Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Cards
    1. Cardholders are responsible for reporting lost or stolen library cards immediately.
    2. The holder of a lost or stolen library card is responsible for all material checked out on that card up to the time the card is reported lost or stolen.
    3. There may be a small charge to replace a lost, stolen, damaged, or worn card.
    4. Physical cards may only be replaced in person.
  4. Thresholds / Loan Limitations
    1. Individual Resident, Regular or Organization cards: 50 items.
    2. Out-of-System or Three for Me cards, or new Borrowers: three items.
    3. Due to limited availability, limits may be set for the number of items in certain media formats that a customer may have checked out.
    4. Because the library is primarily supported by property taxes paid by residents of its chartered service area, a selection of high-demand items may be reserved for borrowing and/or holding by district residents.
  5. Renewals
    1. Cardholders may renew eligible items in person, by phone, or online via the SALS/MVLS catalog.
    2. An item cannot be renewed if another borrower has placed a hold on it.
  6. Placing Holds or Requesting Materials from other Libraries
    1. Placing Holds
      1. Customers holding Individual or Organization cards may place holds on most materials found in the library catalog.
      2. There is no charge for borrowing materials from SALS/MVLS member libraries,
      3. Customers may initiate their own requests through the library catalog or website or ask for staff to help request materials from SALS/MVLS libraries.
    2. Interlibrary Loan (revised 6/12/2023)

      Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service is provided by Saratoga Springs Public Library (SSPL) for materials that member libraries of the Southern Adirondack Library System (SALS) and Mohawk Valley Library System (MVLS) do not own.

      1. Individual cardholders who live within the SALS service area may also request materials from libraries outside of SALS/MVLS via interlibrary loan. Other borrowers will be referred to their home system. Individuals with new library cards may be restricted to in-library use.
      2. Lending libraries determine loan periods and item limitations, which may differ from Saratoga Springs Public Library policies.
      3. The library attempts to obtain material from other libraries for free whenever possible. However, fees charged by other libraries for this service must be paid by the borrower.
      4. Patrons are limited to six simultaneous Interlibrary Loan requests.
      5. Frequent borrowers or requests for multiple items may be referred to the Central Library for the Southern Adirondack Library System.
      6. Saratoga Springs Public Library is ultimately responsible for the soundness and security of materials borrowed from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan and our ability to continue borrowing through ILL is jeopardized if materials are not returned by the due date, in the same condition they were received. A patron’s ILL privileges, or even Saratoga Springs Public Library’s privileges, may be suspended or limited if a patron damages or loses items, does not pick up ILL holds or consistently returns items past the due date.
      7. Patrons will be charged a replacement cost for all lost or irreparably damaged ILL items.
  7. Returns

    Most Saratoga Springs Public Library materials may be returned to any SALS/MVLS library, and will be checked in by that library.

  8. Confidentiality of Library Records

    To comply with New York law and the Saratoga Springs Public Library Confidentiality of Library Records Policy, the library does not release personal information, allow anyone to pick up items being held for another customer, or disclose information about what another customer has borrowed from the library or what charges are on another customer’s account except in the following circumstances:

    1. A person designated by a customer who presents that customer’s card may receive information from that customer’s record and/or complete transactions on that customer’s behalf.
    2. In order to borrow materials on a minor’s card, the parent or guardian must provide the minor’s library card or be accompanied by the minor and present government-issued photo ID.
    3. Under no circumstances will library card numbers be released via telephone, or transmitted electronically.
  9. Loan Periods, Renewals, and Holds*
    Item Loan Period Potential Renewals Holds Allowed
    New Release DVDs 14 Days 3 Yes, for residents
    Other DVDs and Magazines 14 days 3 Yes
    Most Books and Audiobooks 28 Days 3 Yes
    New and Popular Books 14 days 3 Yes, for residents
    Wireless Hotspots 14 days 0 No
    LaunchPads 14 days 3 No
    Museum Passes 7 days 0 No

    *Eligible items may not be renewed if there are outstanding holds. Some popular material may not be eligible for holds to ensure a wide selection of new material is available to customers.

  10. Fines and Fees*

    *These policies apply to material returned to Saratoga Springs Public Library.

    1. All material returned to Saratoga Springs Public Library is free of overdue fines.
    2. Borrowers will be charged for the replacement cost of lost or damaged items. Materials are considered lost when overdue for 30 days.
    3. Borrowers become delinquent when 5 or more items are overdue or when the total fines reach $50.00. Delinquent status prevents further borrowing.
    4. Excessively delinquent accounts may be referred to a collection agency. If an account is referred to a collection agency, fees charged by the agency will be added to the account.
    5. Library card replacement is $1.00.
  11. Lost or Damaged Items
    1. An item more than 30 days overdue is considered lost, and the replacement cost will be charged to the cardholder’s account. The cardholder must either return the item, at which time the charge will be removed from the account, or pay the replacement cost of the item.
    2. Refunds for lost and paid items incur a $5.00 administrative fee.
    3. Damage to material beyond normal wear and tear is the responsibility of the cardholder. Replacement charges are assessed for damaged items.
    4. Due to cataloging and processing costs, replacement copies of material purchased by the customer will not be accepted for lost or damaged items.
    5. Customers seeking a reduction in fees for material lost due to theft, accident, fire, or natural disaster must provide a copy of an official police report or insurance claim filed at the time of the incident, containing an itemized list of library property. All decisions in such circumstances are subject to Administrative approval. Losses recovered from an insurance claim are expected to be returned to the library.
  12. Payment

    Saratoga Springs Public Library accepts payment of fines and fees for all SALS/MVLS libraries by cash, check, or credit card.

    1. Payment may be made in person, or by mail.
    2. A processing fee of $5.00 plus bank charges will be assessed for a returned check. The library reserves the right to refuse to accept checks from a customer who has had previous checks returned.
  13. Collection Agency

    In order to protect its investment of public money in library material and services, the library works with a collection agency to retrieve long-overdue material or excessive unpaid account balances.

    1. A customer account with total charges of $50 or more that is 42 days past due will be sent to collection and a non-refundable service charge will be added to the account.
    2. The collection agency will contact the customer by phone and letter over the following 120 days in hopes of resolving the problem.
  14. Bankruptcy

    The Saratoga Springs Public Library will comply with Discharge of Debtor decrees by bankruptcy courts. Once the library is notified that a bankruptcy has been filed, collection activity is suspended on the customer’s account and on the accounts of any minor children (to the extent that the charges existed prior to the date of the bankruptcy filing) until the library is notified of the outcome.

    shall have outstanding balances for fines, fees, and collection agency charges removed from their accounts. Only Saratoga Library charges owed as of the date of the decree will be waived.

    1. Cardholders who have:
      • Filed for bankruptcy,
      • Named Saratoga Springs Public Library as a creditor,
      • Received a discharge, and
      • Presented the appropriate documents to the library